UFC on Fox reminds me a lot of a PPV people would complain about because it lacks “star power” to some degree. People would complain about the flyweights headlining and such, too, because of buyrate concerns and whatnot. But as a free Fox show it’s pretty badass, I think, and the undercard is shockingly good. In fact you could probably throw any of the following fights on a PPV card and not be out of line.
Ryan Bader vs. Vladimir Matyushenko – The Janitor is coming back after tearing his Achilles heel. More importantly it’s also a big test for Bader, who got mercked by Lyoto Machida the last time they fought. Vladimir Matyushenko is the ultimate gatekeeper to the elite in the light heavyweight division. His only three losses since 2005 have been to Little Nog, Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. Throw in a loss to a Tito Ortiz in his prime in 2001 and his losses in the division are to guys in the Top 5. He only loses to really good guys and with a win here Bader oddly almost cements his status as a Top Five guy. Vlad just doesn’t lose to anybody.
Clay Guida vs. Hatsu Hioki – Guida makes his debut at featherweight and fights for the first in the UFC banner in his hometown. Kind of shocked this fight isn’t on the main card despite Lamas/Koch being a title eliminator but Guida’s last fight was such an abomination that I can see why he’s relegated to undercard status. Hioki’s a tough out and was nearly a fight away from a title shot himself. How good Guida can look at 145 will be something; he was Top 10 at lightweight and he could easily do the same at 145.
Mike Russow vs. Shawn Jordan – Russow’s a talented fighter and 12 months removed from the undercard of UFC on Fox 2 he’s fighting once again in Chicago on Fox against a capable heavyweight on the undercard. Both guys were on the cusp of jaunting into the Top 10 when timely losses (Fabricio Werdum and Cheick Kongo respectively) derailed them.